Venezuelan Summer League Cards Report: 08/03

The rookie-level VSL Cardinals had a 2-3-1 week to close out a 31-34-4 season in the eight-team league, finishing in fifth place, 13.5 games out. Alberto Rivero and Geney Rios are again among this week's standouts.



The Venezuelan Summer League Cardinals finished off the 2008 season on a sour note and didn't gain any ground in the standings.  The team did stay in 5th place in the eight team league, but fell an extra 2 ½ games back to 13 ½ out of first.  The Cardinals ended the previous period with a win and started this one with a two game losing streak, with one cancelled game in between.  The team came back to take the next two and lost the next. 


Well, the kicker was the Rookie-Level club ended the season with a tie.  And I bang my head on the desk asking why a tie? Why not play it out? It's the last game, blah.  So the Cardinals go 2-3-1 this week finishing the 2008 season with a 31-34-4 record.


After their scheduled day off, the Cardinals visited the Phillies for a doubleheader.  The team had some great pitching, holding the Phils to only two runs.  The Phillies brought even better pitching, holding the Cardinals to only four hits and no runs.  The game was played a full nine innings and the second game was cancelled due to rain.


Game two of the week ended the same as the first.  The Cardinals came very close to beating the 2nd place Mariners.  But the home team prevailed in a 5-4 loss won by the Mariners in the 8th inning.  The Redbirds reliever blew the save and literally threw the game away with a throwing error.  The first seven runs scored by both teams occurred in the first frame of the game.


The following game, the last place Tigers visited and pounded out 15 hits, ten coming off the Cardinals' starter.  This is probably a good example of why they are in last place, getting hits and leaving them on base or hitting into double plays.  The Cardinals turned three double plays and drove in four runs.  One error was committed by the Redbirds, allowing a run to score.  Cardinals won 4-1.


The second game of their winning streak came courtesy of the Mets.  The Cardinals had a 5-0 lead heading into the 7th when the Mets roughed up their reliever for four runs.  The Cardinals pulled him and put in their young guns, who held their opponents to three hits and no runs in the next two frames and the hitters added some padding with a 6th run in the 9th. 


The Cardinals would host the 1st place Pirates for the second to last game on the schedule.  The Pirates ended the Cardinals winning streak at two and knocked the Redbirds out of the game within the first five innings.  Some Cardinals faces we haven't seen in awhile made returns and probably should have stayed in the pen.  Each Redbirds reliever averaged one run per inning pitched for the last five frames.  The Pirates took the contest 9-5 after the Cardinals made a small comeback in the 8th and 9th adding four runs.


And the final game of the season ended in a 3-3 tie.  The home team Rays scored the first two runs in the 1st and the Cardinals followed and took the lead with three in the next five innings.  The Redbirds starter gave a run away in the 7th with a pickoff error and neither team scored after that.


With the Cardinals finishing 13 ½ games out first and 9 ½ out of 2nd place, they will not be participating in post-season action.  The Pirates and Mariners will face off in a championship series to determine the overall 2008 VSL champ.


Who's Hot


Alberto Rivero continued his dominance at the plate this week.  The 19-year old centerfielder went 9-for-22 (.409) with two doubles, two RBIs, two runs, one walk, and three strike outs.  In his last ten games he went 15-for-37 (.405) and had five multi-hit games for the Cardinals.  A correction from the last report: Rivero's hitting streak ran from July 7-17, but his on base streak ran from July 2-28.  A very impressive end to his 2008 season as he nudged his batting average up to .309 overtaking Gerardo Mannbel for the team lead and he also had 33 RBIs and 73 hits for the team best.  The 5'10" 150 pounder had two outfield assists, one on July 30 and the other on August 1.


Anthony Fonseca ended his season on a positive note, like Rivero.  The 19-year old right fielder went 6-for-18 (.333) with two RBIs, three runs, three walks, one stolen base, one hit by pitch, and five strike outs.  The Cardinals' February 11, 2007 free agent signee had two multi-hit games and his first three games of the week he had one outfield assist in each.  Fonseca finishes off the 2008 season with a .265 batting average (6th on the team), 28 runs (3rd), two triples (2nd), and 11 stolen bases (team lead). 


Geney Rios made another impressive start this past week.  On July 31, the 20-year old right-hander pitched six scoreless innings allowing only two hits, one walk, and striking out five.  The team drove in five runs and the bullpen kept the Mets to only four runs, giving Rios his 4th win on the season.  The Cardinals' March 4, 2006 free agent signee allowed eight hits and one earned run in 19 innings while striking out 19 and collecting three straight wins.  He ends the season with a 4-3 record, 2.49 ERA, 57 strikeouts and 26 walks over 68.2 innings.


Carlos Noguera might have given up the hits this week, but kept them on base.  The 18-year old right-hander made his only start July 30 allowing ten hits, no runs, and striking out four in 5.2 innings.  He also had a throwing error, which didn't affect the score, and picked up his 2nd win for the season.  The Cardinals' July 11, 2006 free agent signee allowed 22 hits, two earned runs, one walk, and struck out 12 over 20 innings in his last four starts.


Yonathan Gonzalez again was pulled back and forth between starter and closer this week, and again impressed.  The 20-year old right-hander came in for a save opportunity on July 31, pitching one inning allowing one hit, no runs, striking out one, getting the other two batters to ground out and fly out.  This gave Gonzalez a team-leading nine saves and 25 game finishes.  On August 2, in need of a starter, the club tapped the third year VSL participant for his second start of the season.  He went on to pitch seven innings, allowing five hits, three runs (two earned), one walk, striking out five, and throwing the ball away on a pickoff attempt.  He didn't get the win as the bullpen gave up a run and the hitting couldn't get a run across the plate, as the game ended in a tie.


Who's Not


Gerardo Mannbel went hitless in his last two games of the year and saw his average drop further this week.  The 18-year old shortstop went 4-for-22 (.182) with two doubles, two RBIs, two runs, three walks, one stolen base, and four strikeouts.  He showed a little life mid-week having a three game hitting streak and picking up the two doubles and two RBIs, but couldn't keep it going.  Just a couple more at-bats and the 5'11" 165 pounder could have seen his batting average fall under .300.  Mannbel ends the season with a .302 batting average and led the team with 33 runs, 14 doubles, four home runs, 99 total bases, 28 walks, a .401 OBP.  He also picked up another fielding error, putting him at 19, second on the team.


Hector Garcia, like Mannbel, went hitless in his last two games of the 2008 season.  The 18-year old third baseman went 3-for-18 (.167) with two runs, one walk, two stolen bases, and three strike outs.  His batting average took a couple small steps back in the last ten games dropping to .282 which is good enough for 3rd on the team.  The Cardinals' July 1, 2007 free agent signee had a team-leading 20 errors for the season and was 2nd with 37 strike outs.


Deimer Bier struggled in his only start for the week.  The 17-year old right-hander started July 29 allowing five hits, three (earned) runs, two walks, struck out one, and threw one wild pitch.  In his last eight starts he seemed to alternate having one good start and have a sub-par outing the next.  This was his worst start in his last six on the mound.  Bier had a great season, posting a 3-1 record with a 2.80 ERA walking 13 and striking out 37 over 61.1 innings. 


Moises Colorado makes it another week on the not list with his latest start.  The 18-year old left-hander pitched August 1 allowing four hits, four runs (three earned), two walks, hit one batter, struck out four and had two balks.  Colorado seemed a little out of place in the outing and in his last three appearances coughed up nine earned runs over 11.2 innings.  The 6'3" 170 pounder did however end the season as the Cardinals' strikeout leader with 62 over 43.1 innings, but had a 0-3 record.


Jackson Solarte had a horrible ending to his 2008 season.  The 18-year old right-hander made one relief appearance on July 31 giving up two hits, four (earned) runs, two walks, and hitting one batter before being pulled after only 2/3 of an inning.  The Cardinals' 2008 free agent signee came very close to blowing the game.  In seven relief appearances, Solarte had one were he didn't allow an earned run.  He ends the season with a 1-0 record, a 13.00 ERA, walked four and struck out six over nine innings.


Missing in Action and a Correction


Right-handed reliever Fabian Marquez last pitched on July 17.


MiLB finally corrected the Viloria error.  Carlos has been dropped and Omar Viloria stands as the name on the roster.  Omar was also listed on the VSL official site, not Carlos.  This was made note of back on July 17 in the VSL reports.  So finally some clarification.  And adding, the 17-year old utility player has been out of action since July 17.


Venezuelan Summer League*


The Cardinals' hitting ended the season 7th in AVG (.246), 6th in runs (283), 7th in hits (553), 8th in doubles (82), tied for 5th in triples (12), 5th in home runs (23), 6th in RBIs (230), 7th in total bases (728), 3rd in walks (219), 2nd worst in strikeouts (444), 7th in stolen bases (54), 5th in OBP (.328), 8th in SLG (.324), and 7th in OPS (.641).


The Cardinals' pitching ended the season 5th in ERA (3.43), tied for 4th in shut outs (4), tied for 5th in saves (14), 5th in hits allowed (577), 5th in runs allowed (310), 4th in earned runs (228), tied for 6th in home runs allowed (16), 8th in hit batters (50), 3rd in walks (237), 4th in strikeouts (412), 5th in WHIP (1.36), and tied for 2nd in holds (15).


The team was out hit and out scored in the end, putting them at a sub-.500 record for the 2008 season.


Gerardo Mannbel: 8th with a .306 AVG, 6th with 71 hits, tied for 8th with 14 doubles, 8th with 99 total bases, 7th with a .401 OBP, 10th with a .427 SLG, and 6th with a .827 OPS.


Alberto Rivero: 9th with a .302 AVG, tied for 7th with 70 hits and tied for 9th with three triples.


Anthony Fonseca: tied for 7th with 11 stolen bases.


Geney Rios: 6th with a 2.49 ERA, 6th with 68.2 innings, 6th with 57 strikeouts, and 4th with a 1.00 WHIP.


Carlos Noguera: 7th with a 2.57 ERA.


Yonathan Gonzalez: tied for 2nd with one complete game, 4th with nine saves, and 2nd with 25 game finishes.


Moises Colorado: tied for 2nd with 62 strikeouts.


Deimer Bier: 7th with a 1.05 WHIP.


Fernando Cedeno: tied for 2nd with four holds.


Miguel Lopez and Carlos Oraa: tied for 4th with others with three holds.


* Stats do not reflect August 2nd game.  Sorry for any confusion on the "ended the season" words, but this gives an idea of where the team pretty much ended the season.  Stats probably will not be adjusted until the day after or on the same day this report is posted.


Next Up


With the season over, we all should look forward to possibly seeing a few of these players show up for the St. Louis Cardinals' 2008 Instructional League, in Jupiter, in the fall and especially in the Venezuelan Parallel League during the winter.

Venezuelan Summer League Official Site:


MiLB Cardinals' VSL Site: link


Venezuelan Parallel League Official Site: (League play should open in October; more info coming later)



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